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Podcasting101 Clarice Smith Teacher Inst
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Podcasting101 Clarice Smith Teacher Inst


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Presentation to the Clarice Smith Teacher Institute, held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Aug 3-7, 2009.

Presentation to the Clarice Smith Teacher Institute, held at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Aug 3-7, 2009.

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  • How many people have taken an audio or multimedia tour? Did they enjoy their experience?
  • * Has this ever happened to you taking an audio tour? Expresses the aim of interpretation, be it in the gallery or elsewhere: to help us connect with what we’re seeing, care about it, and thereby open up to learning about it.
  • Yet all too often, visitors complain that audio tours give them this sort of experience: Although this video shows an example of one of the earliest tour technologies from the 1960s, excavated by Loic Tallon, the perception of audio tours is that they are not terribly different today in terms of inspiring a herd mentality among users, producing crowding around exhibits and a sort of dumbed-down, one-size-fits-all experience. All the issues that have plagued audio tours throughout their history are visible here: The linearity of the tour lead to a herd-mentality among visitors and crowding around exhibits In addition the challenges of: Hygiene: led to one of the earliest audio tour technology debates: headphones vs wands? Distribution issues always a challenge, but complexity also driven by technology choices, including the headphones or wand choice Very homogenous audience
  • Another way to represent this is as a multi-tiered architecture with up to three kinds of content: 1. -+-+-+-+-+ The Soundtrack 2. o o o o o The Soundbites 3. / | / | / Links
  • One way to look at soundtrack and soundbites is through the ways they’re delivered to the end user. Soundtracks, being longer audio or even video pieces, tend to be downloaded and played back from local memory on the player. Soundbites are shorter and generally very focused in their message, so with good metadata they are more easily made searchable or associated with specific object records, for example.
  • Reading the curator’s intention Keys to understanding the exhibition/display in its entirety Faster than reading (usually stops are slower than reading)
  • What I like about this soundtrack, in which Nicholas Serota discusses Tate Moderns’ 2008 exhibition of work by Cy Twombly during its installation: Given by the curator: visitors always like hearing from the expert, as long as s/he speaks relatively well! He gives us an overview with basic tools to understand Twombly’s work, both in this exhibition and beyond. He gives us a behind-the-scenes view, insight into what curation and the work of the museum is all about.
  • Museums are very good at soundbites: the wall label can be seen as a very basic, text-based soundbite. Although writing for the ear or video is not the same as writing for a label or catalogue, it is not such a huge task for museum staff to gain these skills and be able to produce good quality scripts for stops in-house. By contrast, you want a good storyteller writing your soundtracks if you don’t have someone as eloquent ‘off-the-cuff’ as Nicholas Serota!
  • An example from an SFMOMA podcast. Like the Tate soundtrack, starts with an introduction and overview of the exhibition, followed by a couple of stops that take us into depth on specific objects.
  • Transcript

    • 1. Nancy Proctor [email_address] 4 August 2009 Podcasting 101 For the Clarice Smith National Teacher Institute Smithsonian American Art Museum August 3-7, 2009  
    • 2. Why Audio? Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 3. Heard not herd Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 4. Why Podcast?
      • Subscription – ‘push’ – content
      • Portable
      • Personal
      • WWW=whatever, whenever, wherever
      • Multisensory
      Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 5. Content approaches & types
      • Scripted – like blogs written for the ear
      • Interviews: with experts or ‘vox pops’
      • Conversations
      • Types
      • Soundtracks: ambulatory
      • Soundbites: ‘stops’
      Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 6. Start with the questions
      • What makes folk art, 'art'? How is folk art different from fine art? Why is it in museums?
      • Who makes folk art? What were the people who made it like?
      • What do the symbols mean?
      • Where does all this stuff come from?
      • What is it made of?
      • Why are fishing lures considered art?
      • What is up with the penguins?
      • Where did all these fish come from? One person or lots of people?
      • More information about the "memory" idea about the ceramics that have the stones and other objects. Could you give an example from one of these pieces?
      Nuestra Señora La Reina Del Cielo (Our Lady Queen of Heaven) 1991, Horacio Valdez
    • 7. Download & Search Soundtracks & Soundbites Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 8. The Soundtrack
      • Provides a linear narrative and contextual information: tools for understanding the key principles of the displays, both in the gallery and beyond .
      • ‘ Downloaded’ for audiences on-site and beyond.
      • Is a story or a conversation that the visitor can join.
      • Immersive, but may be divided into a number of connected segments.
      • Like a good album, book or catalogue, should be possible to enjoy over & over again…
      Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 9. Soundtrack Sample Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 10. Soundbites
      • Are ‘atoms’ of information.
      • That facilitate going deeper on a particular object/subject.
      • Are commonly called ‘stops’ – or ‘starts’!
      • Can be a tool for information gathering by the visitor e.g. via bookmarking;
      • Can be reused across the museum’s analog & digital platforms as well as those of third parties.
      Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 11. Soundbite Sample Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 12. Soundtracks & Soundbites Combined Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 13. The Power of the Dialectic Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 14. Empowering Student Voices
      • Sophie Hunter Colston, 1896
      • William R. Leigh
      • Born: Falling Waters, West Virginia 1866
      • Died: New York, New York 1955
      • oil on canvas 72 3/8 x 40 7/8 in. (183.8 x 103.9 cm.)
      • 2nd Floor, East Wing
      • Podcast by Holton Arms HS student, Pamela S.
      Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 15. 5 Top Tips
      • Start by asking yourself – or your students – what questions the artwork or collection provokes, and structure your podcast to answer those questions
      • Use dialogue to empower your listener to have an opinion and join the conversation
      • Multiple voices and approaches add variety and interest
      • Take into account the context in which your audience will be listening: in the classroom? On the bus? At home? And design for that experience.
      Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 16. Resources
      • podcasts & wiki
      • Museum Podcasts:
      • Gallery overviews & soundtracks:
      • YouTube: how to podcast
      Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009
    • 17. Your Assignment
      • Work in pairs or small groups
      • Each person makes a unique piece of audio around a similar/same theme/artwork/question
      • Recording today
      • Editing on Thursday
      Nancy Proctor, 4August 2009